Reply to Heidi

Thanks for the letter a few weeks ago. I enjoyed reading all the news and congratulations on finding a bigger place. It sounds like a great location and I know you will enjoy it. Sorry I won’t be there to help you move! (Yea, right.)

I will certainly check out your suggestions in Cairo. I never miss an opportunity for chocolate! (Check out the PowerPoint I attached.) But I’m only there 3 nights and one of the days is filled up with a full-day tour of the Pyramids, Sphinx and the Egyptian museum. Another day is arriving and another day is leaving. But I hope to see a little of the city. It is supposed to be quite different from the other Middle Eastern cities I’ve visited. A lot more busy and tourist orientated. And a lot more unsafe. Aleppo is really an easy place to live and despite the news, very safe.

I don’t think I told you about joining a gym near my place. Actually, I’ve never set foot in the gym part. I just use the sauna, Jacuzzi and the massage room. An hour massage is $12. Nobody uses the sauna or Jacuzzi and so I have it all by myself every time. I’ll leave all that “pumping iron” to those foolish, young guys.

It’s funny that Holly is learning about Jewish roots. Here in Syria, they are not allowed to study anything about the Holocaust or anything about Israel. The relationships between Jews, Muslims and Christians are so complex and confusing here. On a personal level, at least here in Aleppo, they get along fine. It’s just on the state level that there are problems. It’s the same with America. They like Americans; they just don’t like the American government.

I know that people are planning a family reunion for this summer and they should continue, but I am sorry to say that I have decided not to come home this summer. I really appreciated the visit I had with Mark and his family last year. It makes you think that you should never take family and friends for granted. And I don’t, but actually, my trips home are very hard on me. It’s been over 5 years and I’m still not over my divorce. I don’t think I ever will be. And I have an opportunity to travel Europe with a friend who I met in Italy. You see, the airfare that they provide for me each year to travel back to America can be used to go anywhere. I have decided to visit different friends I have made in Spain, Italy, Serbia and other places. I traded my time-share for a week at a beautiful beach resort called Club La Paz in Puerto de la Cruz in the Canary Islands.

I wish instead that I could visit all my family in the Canary Islands! But if not, I’ll be home the following summer, because I will be changing jobs again then. I don’t know where I will be going. I would love to go back to Italy, but I want to do one more overseas school before I turn 60 (I’m 57 now). So don’t be mad at me, and try to understand how I feel about things now.

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